Lead your life

The other day, while chatting with a friend, I asked her about the changes that marriage had brought in  her. Her reply was a simple ” I am leading my life my own way”.  Somehow those words kept haunting me. How many of us have the freedom to “lead” our own lives, especially after marriage? There is an unspoken and unacknowledged transfer of authority of our lives to the  spouses and their families. We are bound by what they think and wish for, rather that what we would be more comfortable in. Now, I am not one of the staunch feminist kinds. And I do believe in compromises that we all should make to make our relationships more pleasant. But there has to be a line drawn.  I wonder how many of us can actually do that. Our entire lives are spent in trying to please these relations. While doing so, we forget ourselves, and our happiness. Another friend of mine had once remarked “We get only one life, so live for yourself”. I had dismissed it as a selfish thought. But when I look back at the years spent, I find that the best moments in my life were the ones that I lived for myself. I would not want to reach the end of my life and wonder why such moments were so less and whether I can boast of having lived my life to its fullest.

9 thoughts on “Lead your life

  1. sunaina singh says:

    leading our lives not always mean not abiding by the laws of the home we live in….be it our mom’s place or the home we get married to! and it holds the same for both sexes!!!
    living for myself also doesn’t imply i would not find happiness if once in a while i give the decision making tool to someone i love and have faith in!!

    the unspoken transfer of power is sometimes for our own good…a lot of times for the good of the entire family!
    a family is a unit that combines the power of love, trust and unconditional contribution from all its members….in every way possible!!! you can only live for yourself when you live alone, not as a family….

    i do agree that there should be a line drawn……

    but doesn’t that hold true for everything else in life ??

  2. Well Sunaina, I have never equated the freedom to lead our lives with “not abiding the laws of the home”. And though it may seem so, yet I was not referring to one particular gender.

    As you say, “living for myself also doesn’t imply i would not find happiness if once in a while i give the decision making tool to someone i love and have faith in!!” – I agree fully. Sometimes giving gives you more pleasure than getting. But when you are always expected to be the silent and the sacrificial goat, then you have to start thinking seriously about yourself.

    The “unspoken transfer of power” also means giving away your capability to decide matters for yourself. If you do not have control over your own life, how can you expect to get the good done for the entire family? Being a mute and passive spectator doesn’t help. And to be a proactive agent, you have to assert your views and opinions.

    Also, to have “love, trust and unconditional contribution” , one need not give away the very spirit of life i.e freedom to be able to decide for yourself. Yes, in some cases the individual and family goals do conflict. The decision should then be based on what would be right or wrong, rather than just deciding that an individualistic view would always be harmful to the “bigger picture” or the “family” .

    I would like to add, that only if you are happy as an individual can you think about others. If you are always discontented with your life, it would be difficult to keep others happy.

    Yes, there has to be a line drawn, but like everything else in life, this too gets blurred and with time we merge our identities completely with our families. But that doesn’t make us a better persons or our families the happier ones. It only adds to the frustrated souls in the society!

  3. Sunaina says:

    Hi Puja,

    I didn’t mean to offend you in any way!!

    What I have found is that the freedom to ‘lead our lives’ our way after marriage holds no ground, look at it any way you want!! You will not find an inch of margin left for anything individualistic!! Everything that was “yours” ( be it views, opinions, ideals, principles) overnight washes out with the mantras that you utter at the mandap!! the truth to marriage is we marry not our spouse, we marry the entire clan accepting their laws, their principles, their values and have to adapt ourselves to their standards of living!! (it takes years to get over this shock, sometimes a lifetime but there is no denying it) and this time I am particularly referring to one gender! the other is just not capable of adapting and enduring so much!!

    In earlier times, ignorance and dependence of one particular gender over the other played a key role in keeping families and relationships intact for years. There was no choice, no individualistic opinion to hold on to…now even though time has changed, self-awareness has taken the place of ignorance, and knowledge/education has widened our mental horizons, aren’t we still fighting within ourselves to hold onto what our mothers taught us and what we learnt at school.. to be “independent”!! Education that was supposed to have enlightened us, has actually confused us in many ways!!! how to be independent, how to break away from the norm and exercise our individualistic expressions…do you see any way of doing that living within a family? Won’t it be a violation of rules if you did whatever you wanted and didn’t heed to other’s opinions?? Unless as I said, there is unconditional contribution from all members!! and by that I mean our better halves and their families accept our individuality and let us be!!
    sometime in thousand years, that is….!!! 🙂

    I will add that “giving” provides happiness not “sometimes” but “everytime”, provided we give (whatever it may be, the right of making decisions for us or something that we hold very close to our heart) with the intention of “giving” !!
    Its when we know/realise that what we give out in this world, starting from our family, is what we get back eventually!! We give out frustration and it comes back at us, we give out love..and love is what will wrap us!! if you give out the feeling that you are being a scapegoat…you will be made one the rest of your life!! so beware….!! there is nothing wrong in standing up for your rights!

    the transition of our lives from one phase to another requires some sort of sacrifice every step of the way and is not always easy, its upto us to make it pleasant and endurable!

    Cheers 🙂

  4. HI Sunaina,

    I am not offended at all!! You are entitled to have your own views. And that is exactly my point. You can share all that is “yours”, and make it “ours” with others. But can you ever share your real identity? You would be “Sunaina” always. Agreed that you can “share” your pains and joys with others, but you have to ultimately “live” those moments all by yourself. “Sharing” would not take away the pain or pleasure from them.
    Also, I would like to repeat that my idea of individualism does not conflict with my family values. Both have to be respected. In our society women have to give up almost everything for the sake of their families. But is it really worth it? Is the family really happy after all those sacrifices? I believe that in a family, each individual should be respected. Adjustments are to be made. But they should not be done at the cost of your very self. The same should hold true for men as well.

  5. Sunaina says:

    Yes Puja, I do agree with you but I also believe the very essence of love which binds me with another is to lose myself…and be my beloved’s! whatever belonged to my beloved (good or bad) now belongs to me and vice versa!

    I do respect your views a lot but I will still beg to differ on the very point that started this discussion, and that is respecting each other’s individuality is entirely different than leading our lives independently, our way!! be yourself all that you can be, you want to be…but as long as you are alone, by yourself!!
    The moment you become a part of the family then I am afraid its time to lose yourself and just be a wife, a daughter-in-law, a mother, a bhabhi and so on. Its a must-have quality in women to change their garb of responsibility as is required and although I agree that its not fair on the women to carry such a big burden but hey, we should be proud of this very attribute that only we are blessed with!! Let me also assure you that, yes, a family grows healthy and happy with the constant nurturing and sacrifices made by the women. I will add that women can make such sacrifices only and only if they are equally loved and respected by their families! (i know you will agree with me here 🙂 ) we are like flowers, we make the home look pretty and bountiful by our beauty, fragrance and our exuberant love that we spread unconditionally…even if people do not glance at us do we stop being fragrant? No, but if we are continuously neglected we dry out from inside!!

    I am very gender specific because we are living in India and although a lot of talk goes on about gender equality, how much is exercised can be seen in every family around us( i agree there are exceptions)

    Hey, I cannot write as beautifully as you but still tried to put into words my feelings on a subject that I ponder on a lot !!

  6. Ladies! I am enjoying this discussion every bit.
    Keep the sentences rolling.

    Except for some ‘inflamatory’ remarks like Sunaina saying “the other is just not capable of adapting and enduring so much!!”
    🙂
    I have a feeling that soon both of you will move onto male bashing; venting your anger on hapless men who are struggling with the very idea of marriage.

    Heres more ammo for the battle:
    http://www.quotegarden.com/marriage.html

  7. Sunaina says:

    Gurdas,

    Sorry for my so called inflamatory remark, I take it back to re-phrase it!! How about ” the other is just too naive and innocent (for a little bit too long sometimes :)) to comprehend the massive changes that take place in their lives overnight and continue to do so ever after (a marriage)!! ”

    The fun part of this discussion is we both are right in our own ways, we are proposing different ways to keep ourselves amused, content and happy even after the biggest disaster in life….’marriage’ !!

    …you keep having fun dude!!

    Cheers!! 🙂

  8. Puja and Sunaina,

    I read and re-read the article and ensuing discussion. There is no doubt that the plight of women demands action. But the causes are very complex. Ages of patriarchal system has left deep footprints. How do we answer that the bride is troubled most by another woman, her mother-in-law?

    There is nothing called complete individuality or living for the self. Even if you are single, living alone and not answerable to anyone, you still do not have complete freedom. And I believe that is good. At the same time I challenge the common view of freedom. It need not necessarily mean doing your own thing. If one gives me the opportunity to educate and accept a better view or action , even that is freedom. Anything pushed down my throat (however nice) is absence of freedom.

    Maybe the things you take pride in – adaptability for example – need to be reconsidered. Relationships work best when boundaries are clear but negotiable. Take away either of those two, and you have a recipe or pain and disaster.

  9. Gurdas,

    I do agree completely with you. While I support individuality, I also understand that the meaning is not quite clear to most of the people. Usually, retaining your identity implies that you have to be a self-centered person. But according to me, it means learning and accepting your own likes and dislikes, beliefs, choices, etc.. If these are in conflict with those of others around you, a midway has to be found out. And trust me, it is not as difficult as it sounds. I know what it is like to lose oneself completely in the name of adapting or so called “adjusting”. It is not as angelic as it sounds.

    To close this discussion at my end, I repeat – individuality does not mean staying alone or isolated from others. It means respecting ones own identity while living in harmony with others.

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